Praying For My Son
The news hit me like a punch in the stomach.
“Dad, I’m deploying to Iraq next month.”
From the day my son enlisted in the Army, I knew this day might come, but still I wasn’t prepared for it. Not only was Chris headed to Iraq, but he was going to be stationed in one of the few remaining “hot spots” in the country. If that weren’t enough, he was the gunner on an assault vehicle—one of the most vulnerable jobs.
In public I kept up a brave face, but in my private moments I fought back tears almost constantly. Every time my thoughts strayed to Chris, I envisioned a flag-draped casket and wondered how I would ever cope. As a parent I wanted to protect my boy, to keep him safe from all harm. But I couldn’t do that anymore. He was half a world away and beyond any protection I could offer.
I felt so helpless.
As I prayed and confessed my fears, God reminded me that my son’s safety has never been in my hands. He could have taken Chris home any number of times in the nineteen years he’s been alive.
I thought of a sixteen-year-old boy in our community who died in a freak accident a few months earlier. Then I remembered the teenage girl who dropped dead while jogging—she suffered from an undiagnosed heart ailment. As my mind rolled over these tragic events, I realized that the parents of those teens were as helpless as I was. I’m sure that they had wanted to protect their children, but they had lost them anyway. And they weren’t in a war zone.
“What are you trying to teach me, Lord?” I wondered.
One morning, as I was reading the Psalms, I found my answer: “But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand,” (Psalm 31:14-15a, KJV). Facing the threat of his enemies, the psalmist confesses his trust and confidence in God, emphasizing that his “times” – his destiny – is in God’s hands.
My responsibility was not to sit and worry about my son, but to daily commit him into the hands of a wise and faithful heavenly Father.
Chris is coming home from Iraq this month. He has learned much during his deployment. I’ve learned a lot, too.
I have learned how to pray for my son.
PRAYER: Thank You, Heavenly Father, that my children’s “times” are in Your hands. Help me to daily commit them to Your loving and watchful care, wherever they are.
“But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand,” Psalm 31:14-15a, KJV.
Today’s devotion is by James H. (Jim) Pence, author, novelist, editor, speaker, vocalist, and performance chalk artist. Through Tuppence Ministries, James seeks to use the arts to bring glory to God. Learn more about Jim’s books and art at www.jamespence.com.